Nov 30, 2010
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Hello everyone. I have been reading the postbacc forum a lot, but I still have a lot of questions. I graduated from an ivy league school with an engineering degree 2 years ago and have been working as an engineer since then. Some personal experience had made me want to pursue a career in medicine.

My undergrad GPA was 3.5. I have completed some of required science classes already since they are part of the engineering curriculum. Here comes to messy part. I took physics II and calculus II in college but didn't take physics I and calculus I because I had AP credits from high school. I know different schools have different policies with AP credits, so should I take physics I and calculus I without retaking II? I also took a condensed one-semester chemistry course. Would that fulfill the chem I requirement? I am really interested in a structured program (columbia or NYU). Would having that many requirements fulfilled already be a problem? My goal is to start the accelerated sequence in the spring of 2012. What kind of extracurricular activities can I do now that would help me get into a post-bacc/med school? Keep in mind that I am still working full time... Assuming I will do very well in post-bacc and MCAT, will the 3.5 GPA lower my chance of getting into med school (and perhaps a top med school)? My GPA took a nosedive in my senior year when job hunting took priority.

Last but not least, where do people find $90k for these 2-year programs?
 

badb100d

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I'll bite. I don't think you'll need to retake calc I per say. Some med schools recognize the AP credit and for those that don't you can usually substitute another math class (stats is popular, calc III), unless of course you want to take calc I. The situation with physics is trickier and unfortunately engineering courses usually don't count to fulfill the other semester of physics that med schools require. You'll probably have to hash that out with the advisor of the postbacc program you attend. I know Columbia is picky about their requirements for a committee letter so you may have to retake physics I. This is a hunch, but I think the condensed chem course will satisfy the requirements for chem I.

Hmm...I would say you are on the border of having too many pre-reqs done for the formal programs. It's hard to say for sure. I personally know of someone who was able to do Columbia's program with all of physics, chem I and all math requirements done, but this person was an alum of the school. The best thing to do is call and find out.

Your undergrad GPA is by no means terrible, although the downward trend senior year is not great. If you are successful in postbacc your chances should still be good for med school.

For EC's I recommend getting started with clinical experiences if you haven't done so already. Volunteering at a clinic or emergency dept requires a small time commitment (only about 4 hours per week), but pays off well since you need clinical experience on your applicaton (and in fact it's a requirement of Columbia's postbacc program). I'd also recommend shadowing a physician and community volunteering (non-clinical) all those things will be beneficial.

As for your last question, unless you're independently wealthy, loans. You can also go the unstructured route and save tons money at your local 4 year. People have been successful doing that as well. The program itself is not what makes a successful med school applicant. Good luck.
 
OP
M
Nov 30, 2010
2
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Status
Non-Student
Your undergrad GPA is by no means terrible, although the downward trend senior year is not great. If you are successful in postbacc your chances should still be good for med school.
Do med schools weight post-bacc GPA more or they only look at the total average? Will I have a chance of getting into one of the top med schools?

As for your last question, unless you're independently wealthy, loans. You can also go the unstructured route and save tons money at your local 4 year. People have been successful doing that as well. The program itself is not what makes a successful med school applicant. Good luck.
Is it difficult to get loans for post-bacc? What are interest rates like?

Thanks, badb100d!
 

badb100d

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Med schools look at your total undergrad GPA, and your total science GPA, both of which include post-bacc work. These cumulative averages will be what they focus on. However, AMCAS does also separate out your post-bacc GPA and lots of places will take it into consideration especially if you show a marked and sustained improvement. I don't know what your end of undergrad grades look like, but from the 3.5 you mentioned, if you do well in postbacc you will probably still have a shot at a top school from a numbers only perspective. There is soooo much more that these schools want besides a good MCAT and GPA and a lot of that is intangible. Do your best, aim high, but don't get too hung up on top schools at this point. Focus on making your application as strong as possible.

Can't really say what interest rates are like these days, but I know there are certain differences with financial aid for postbacc vs. undergrad. You'll be best served consulting a financial aid office with those questions.